Feds want more wetland mitigation for Lake McIntosh

Thu, 06/21/2007 - 3:45pm
By: John Munford

Feedback comes after 18-month review of project; no firm timetable set

Lake McIntosh, Fayette County’s proposed drinking water reservoir, is still stuck in the permitting process, officials confirmed this week.

Fayette officials were recently notified that federal permitting agencies don’t think the county has compiled enough wetlands to protect to offset the affect the reservoir would have, said County Commission Chairman Jack Smith. Smith noted that Fayette has culled more wetland acreage than any other reservoir project in the nation, both past and present, “yet they’re telling us we need to have more.”

That information came after a review period that took 18 months, Smith noted, adding that it’s hard to predict when construction can begin.

Smith said the county would do what it takes to achieve the permits needed to build the reservoir, which would be located on Line Creek in-between Fayette and Coweta counties. The project is the major project in Fayette County’s future water plans.

One resident asked whether or not the reservoir would be used by Coweta, and Smith replied that the land for the project is 100 percent owned by Fayette County and the water would be used for Fayette County only.

The 8 million gallon reservoir would join the county’s two other reservoirs: Lake Peachtree (which is fed by Lake Kedron) in Peachtree City and Lake Horton in south Fayette County.

The reservoir will provide enough water to support more than 56,000 additional Fayette residents, according to county data. The county has a capacity of producing 20.3 million gallons a day on its own to support a population of up to 142,960, meaning that the addition of Lake McIntosh will support more than 200,000 people living in Fayette.

The county is estimating that lake construction could be completed within two years. The cost is estimated at $8.2 million with funds coming from revenue bonds and loans from the Georgia Environmental Financing Authority.

The project has been under discussion since at least the mid-1970s and the county already has purchased all necessary land in conjunction with the project.

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